Being “forced” by a lawsuit, the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) drafted new rules and regulations for oil and gas drillers that use hydraulic fracturing. The new rules require drillers to use new or improved processes and equipment (at great expense) in an attempt to cut the level of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other air pollutants the EPA says are emitted during the completion of hydraulically fractured wells. MDN wrote an extensive article on this, complete with a copy of the 604-page list of rule changes (see here).
The EPA is moving forward with several public hearings on the rule changes, the first of which will be in Pittsburgh on Sept. 27th.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will hold a hearing in Pittsburgh on its proposed first-ever emissions standards to control and reduce toxic air pollution from oil and gas wells that are hydraulically fractured like those tapping into the Marcellus Shale formation in Pennsylvania and other Appalachian states.
The EPA said the hearing, the first of three that will be held on the proposed rules is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sept. 27, at the David Lawrence Convention Center, Downtown.
Hearings also will be held in Denver on Sept. 28 and in Arlington, Texas, Sept. 29.
The public can comment on the proposed rules — the first changes in oil and gas emissions regulations in decades — which would use existing technologies to reduce pollution from well drilling, leaking pipes, storage tanks and gas compressor stations. Those emissions contribute to smog and can cause cancer.
Such emissions control technologies, including capture of volatile organic compounds and other gases now routinely vented into the atmosphere, already are employed by some companies and required by some states, but not Pennsylvania.
The EPA must finalize the new emissions standards by Feb. 28 under a mandate in a court-ordered consent decree.*
*Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Sep 15, 2011) – EPA to hold a Pittsburgh hearing on drilling regulations